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Preparing for Easter

Yesterday our church did something a bit different for Palm Sunday.  As far as I know, we've never done anything just like this.  We were told for the past few Sundays that it would be an evangelism Sunday and that we were going to go out on the streets and pass out tracts during the regular church service.

Talking to random people is really not in my comfort zone.  I think especially here, building relationships is the most important and effective way to reach people.  Notice I didn't say the only way.  I thought about not going to church, but felt that that was not what God wanted me to do.  So, I thought, well a flat tire or a dead battery could be my answer, but, nope, neither of those happened!

When we arrived at church we were all given a Gideon New Testament, some tracts, an invitation to the Easter celebration next Sunday, and a sheet specifically for university students to see if there is any interest in doing seminars for them.  Then we pretty much had the normal church service.  After that the pastor explained how it would work, we divided up into groups as assigned and went out on the street.  

Our church is along a main road and there are a lot of little shops and businesses along the street.
 The main entrance to the university is also just down the road.  I ended up with three young people who all happened to be students at the air traffic controllers' school.  We went on to the university grounds and found some students out on a grassy area studying, playing games, and drinking tea.  We didn't get into any deep conversations with them, but they accepted the invitations to the Easter celebration next Sunday and were especially eager to receive the New Testaments.  In fact, other groups of students asked for New Testaments and we didn't have any left to give.  Another guy from church came with a stack of them as we were leaving so we told him where to go to hand them out.

While we were out, another group stayed behind to pray.  They were moms with babies, people who can't walk well or can't handle the heat, and people who are designated as intercessors at the church.  

We headed back to the church, very hot and sweaty.  By then it was at least 102 in the shade and we weren't walking in the shade.  The church was pretty hot, too, but at least we had fans.  Thankfully I had brought along a bottle of ice water.  We ended the time with a few testimonies and prayer.

I thought it was a good thing to do for several reasons.  First, it involved the church in one activity all together, youth all the way up to old people.  Secondly, we actually put into practice what we hear every Sunday.  We didn't just sit there, we actually got out and did it.  Thirdly, going in groups gave people who weren't comfortable with it the chance to be supported by others and to learn from them.

Here are a few suggestions for the future or for other churches who might try a similar thing.  First, if you live where it's as hot as it is here, go out at the beginning of the church service.  Our service starts at 9 and we didn't go out until at least 11.  Secondly, I think a role play for instructive purposes at the beginning would have been helpful to show how to handle different problems or questions that might have come up.  And thirdly, have sandwiches for everybody when they get back. :)

I didn't take my camera as I didn't want to have to carry anything other than my water bottle.  All pictures on this blog are from other days.